Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: July 22, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

War of words accompanies BC’s consultation on forests

The Tree Frog Forestry News
July 22, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

A war of words between political parties accompanied the launch of public consultations on the future of BC’s interior forests. In related news: Tom Fletcher says the NDP is pushing ahead with tenure redistribution; West Fraser says the worst of the mill cuts are done; Carrier Lumber backs off of its spraying plans; and Fort Francis’s new mill owner has redevelopment plans.

In Forestry/Climate news: Canadian climate education gets a passing grade; the climate cost of climate conferences revealed; insurance costs rise with increased wildfire risk; and tree coping mechanisms for extreme heat. Elsewhere: forest health concerns in Missouri (Sudden Oak Death); Georgia (longleaf pines needle shedding) and Germany (severe drought). 

Finally, a brief history of the legendary mascot Smokey Bear.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Both parties have failed forest communities

Editorial by Abe Bourdon
Prince George Citizen
July 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Appurtenancy, under the NDP government in the 1990s, meant that wood for mills was tied to the local communities from which that wood was harvested. This quickly disappeared under the timber tenure reform policies brought in by the B.C. Liberals under Gordon Campbell. His tenure reform “would entail a policy of individual transferrable quotas.” It would also allow the tenure holders to close the community-adjacent mills and sell the raw logs to another mill or to ship raw logs out of the province or to sell their licenced tenure to a buyer who could legally do the same. …We are sorely in need of a government that is committed to the citizens and their communities instead of remaining toadies to the multinationals that own our forests. They could start by re-instating the appurtenancy clauses in forest licences.

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NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
July 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C.’s forest industry is having another bad week, after Canfor Corp. announced the immediate closure of its Mackenzie sawmill north of Prince George, and the permanent reduction from two shifts to one at its Isle Pierre mill. …This is the backdrop for Forest Minister Doug Donaldson’s latest initiative, the launch of an “Interior forest sector renewal” project. …As with the series of industry-led meetings urged by Premier John Horgan in January, the key purpose here is to further redistribute Crown forest cutting rights. Horgan and Donaldson are locked into the NDP political frame that big forest companies are the problem, and that nothing has been done about their grip on the people’s resource. …I suspect these private meetings boil down to a series of ultimatums to big forest licence holders. The B.C. NDP wants to be seen as implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and this is how they aim to do it.

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War of words accompanies launch of public consultation on forest sector

By Mark Nielsen
The Prince George Citizen
July 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Rustad

Complete with a series of community meetings, the provincial government has launched a public consultation process on the future of the Interior forest sector. …Forests Minister Doug Donaldson was quick to accuse the previous Liberal government of failing to prepare for the inevitable, namely a wave of sawmill closures as a result of the decline in available timber.  “The previous government failed to help the forest sector when it had a chance, eroding the public’s trust in B.C.’s forest sector operations and diminishing its competitive advantage,” he said in a press release issued Thursday. Opposition critic John Rustad, in turn, accused the governing NDP of inaction in its own right, noting how long it will take for the process to conclude. In a press release, the Liberals dismissed the exercise as a “useless survey.”

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First of Interior Forest Sector Renewal meetings kicks off in Williams Lake

By Monica Lamb-Yorski
Williams Lake Tribune
July 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A meeting focused on the forest industry held in Williams Lake Thursday was the first of several scheduled for the region. Mike Pedersen, who is the engagement lead for the Interior Forest Sector Renewal discussion process announced by forests minister Doug Donaldson Thursday, said it’s time communities in the region begin talking about the future of the industry. There will be a meeting in Anahim Lake on July 23, 100 Mile House on July 24, Quesnel on July 30 and again in Williams Lake on Aug. 14. “We’ve been sitting down the last five years pretty regularly with local governments, Indigenous governments, and industry to talk about this in earnest,” Pedersen said. …During the meeting in Williams Lake, participants broke out into small group discussions around forest tenure and fibre supply, manufacturing capacity and fibre utilization, climate change and forest carbon, wood products innovation, reconciliation with Indigenous communities and fibre and sustainability of timber and non-timber values.

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West Fraser says worst of its B.C. mill cuts done after wave of curtailments

Canadian Press in the Victoria News
July 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Mill cutbacks in B.C. are still happening, but West Fraser Timber Co Ltd. said Friday that the worst of the pullback is behind it. The company, like many in B.C.’s lumber industry, has cut back and closed mills in recent months in response to limited log supplies and a plunge in lumber prices from record highs last year. Canfor, for example, announced late Thursday it was indefinitely suspending operations at its Mackenzie sawmill and permanently cutting a shift at its Isle Pierre mill to reduce output. For its part, West Fraser CEO Ray Ferris said the company’s already announced cuts should put it on a more stable footing in the province going forward. “From a strategic standpoint, much of our heavy lifting in British Columbia is now behind us,” Ferris told a conference call Friday to discuss the company’s latest financial results.

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New Fort Frances mill owner has “highest and best use” redevelopment plans

By Ian Ross
Northern Ontario Business
July 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Justus Veldman

The new owner of the former Fort Frances pulp and paper mill is promising a “highest and best use” for the industrial site and the 300-acre land package he’s acquired in the northwestern Ontario community. Justus Veldman, CEO of Riversedge Developments, said his group will be issuing a press release over the next few days with the details of the transaction and a soon-to-be-announced development partnership. …Veldman is promising a thorough engagement process through community open houses “where the public can ask pointed questions directly at us.” …The mayor of Fort Frances, June Caul, is viewing the arrival of Riversedge with a great deal of trepidation, given the company is a brownfield site redeveloper. Veldman didn’t dismiss the possibility of restarting the mill as a forest products operation, if there is fibre available.

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Finance & Economics

West Fraser says lower lumber prices, export duties responsible for $58-million loss in second quarter

By Jonathan Hayward
The Canadian Press in the North Shore News
July 19, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

VANCOUVER — Mill cutbacks in BC are still happening, but West Fraser Timber said Friday that the worst of the pullback is behind it. …CEO Ray Ferris said the company’s already announced cuts should put it on a more stable footing in the province going forward. …The results were also well below analyst expectations. …RBC analyst Paul Quinn, characterizing the second quarter as a “ferris wheel of issues, said lumber earnings were below his expectations, made worse by worse-than-expected export duties of $51 million.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Sawdust Might Be One Answer to the World’s Plastic Problem

By Aine Quinn
Bloomberg Business
July 21, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, United States

A technology startup near Ontario’s leafy border with Michigan says it has the answer to the world’s plastic pollution problem: sawdust. Origin Materials is getting ready to pay sawmills in the area… which it will use to make recyclable plastic bottles. …Nestle SA, Danone SA and PepsiCo plan to sell water in Origin’s recyclable plant-based bottles in early 2022. It’s one of the many unconventional ways conceived by scientists to reduce the world’s reliance on plastics made from petroleum. …Plant-based plastics, especially varieties made from sugar cane, are starting to seep into the mainstream as companies try to respond to consumers. …It’ll take getting big food and beverage companies on board to really alter the equation. …Skeptics of the bioplastic push say they’re not resolving the underlying problem. It would be better to focus on improving rates of reuse of plastic.

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Canadian cities take wooden skyscrapers to new heights

By Leyland Cecco
The Guardian
July 22, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

British Columbia is no stranger to wooden giants. …Now a growing chorus of architects, foresters and engineers want the province’s biggest city to grow another cluster of wooden giants: timber skyscrapers. Already, Vancouver’s 18-storey Brock Commons tower stands as a testament to the vast possibilities of wood. …Now the provincial government has changed its building codes, effectively doubling the height limit for wood-frame buildings to 12 storeys. The Canadian government is expected to match BC’s codes nationwide. Vancouver is now pushing even those limits by unveiling plans for the Canada Earth Tower, an ambitious 40-storey tower that would be the world’s tallest wooden building. …Meanwhile, government figures show nearly 500 mid-rise timber buildings in various stages of completion across the country. …“BC’s actions have created a ripple effect around the world,” said Michael Green. “The United States has changed its code effectively because of Canada.

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Forestry

As Wildfires Get Costlier and Deadlier, Insurers and Utilities Pay the Price

By Rob Bailey, Director of Climate Resilience at Marsh & McLennan Insights
Brink – The Edge of Risk
July 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

In 2018, the world seemed to catch fire. California suffered its most costly and deadly fire season to date. Over 100 people died in horrific wildfires in Greece. In Canada, British Columbia declared a state of emergency as its worst wildfire season in history burned 1.4 million hectares of forest — more than the area of England — and sent choking fumes across the border to Seattle. …Climate change is estimated to have lengthened fire seasons across a quarter of the world’s vegetated land surface. …Climate change is only part of increasing wildfire risk. As urban developments around the world creep further into wildlands, the number of people and value of assets exposed to fire-prone areas is increasing. …Electrical utilities run the risk that their assets start a fire. …Insurers also need to adapt to a future of more wildfire risk. …Insurance can’t stop wildfire activity from increasing, but it can dissuade us from moving into areas likely to catch fire. 

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Recent government reports should help logging contractors and truck drivers

By Jim Hilton
The Quesnel Cariboo Observer
July 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

During a recent CBC talk show about the proposed tax on exported logs on the coast, it was apparent that the logging contractors and truck drivers would likely be impacted by this proposal. Most of the people phoning in supported the tax. …On the plus side, the recent recommendations from a lengthy logging contractor sustainability review should be a good starting point to solving some long-standing issues. Problems have included an aging work force, long delays in processing plans and permits by government agencies, and difficult relationships between contractors and licensees. …The B.C. government is currently working on a report that will be completed by Dan Miller, a former premier and provincial cabinet minister who was hired back in August as a third-party facilitator. 

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‘You can’t drink money’: Kootenay communities fight logging to protect their drinking water

By Sarah Cox
The Narwhal
July 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Four years ago…Heather McIntyre spotted flagging tape near a creek that supplies much of the drinking and irrigation water for Glade, a Kootenay valley. The tape marked logging boundaries and roads and was stamped with “KLC,” the initials of a local timber company, Kalesnikoff Lumber Co. …When the Glade watershed protection society wrote to Environment Minister George Heyman to request a meeting, they didn’t hear anything back for several months. Following a prod from their MLA’s constituency office … Heyman’s office responded with a single line, saying it had referred the matter to Donaldson’s ministry, which the Glade watershed protection society had already contacted repeatedly. …The Glade society also filed a complaint with the Forest Practices Board, saying the timber companies’ forest stewardship plans — along with the hydrology report commissioned by the companies in keeping with B.C.’s much-criticized professional reliance model — did not meet government objectives for community watersheds.

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A battle won, the next in view

By Andru McCracken
The Rocky Mountain Goat
July 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VALEMOUNT, BC — This week we learned that Carrier Lumber will not aerially spray broadleaf herbicide in the Robson Valley. The CEO of Carrier pointed to letters from our community as being a driver in that decision. This newspaper has never been easy on Carrier Lumber. I would like to acknowledge their decision to stop spraying the pesticide glyphosate aerially, to use ground application judiciously, and to use manual brushing as much as possible. This is huge. …Carrier is going to play ball for three years. There is a short term reward to them of not having to pay for spraying, but it comes with both future risk and expensive new commitments to keep up to forest standards. If the Province doesn’t change regulations and insists that companies continue to decimate broadleaf species, Carrier is in trouble and so are we.

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University of British Columbia Okanagan professor details local wildfire risks

Kelowna Capital News
July 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

David Scott and Adam Wei

Though the Okanagan’s fire danger rating is low to moderate at this point in July, wildfire season is still in full-swing. With long-range weather forecasts predicting a drop in precipitation and a rise in temperature, a UBC Okanagan associate professor in earth, environmental and geographic sciences has detailed what the Okanagan is expecting this season. “Simply put, the Okanagan is a semi-desert area in a rain shadow,” said associate professor David Scott. …The federal government recently released a report on Canada’s changing climate that details the increased warmth in Canada’s future climate. Scott said that that could impact Okanagan wildfire seasons in the future. “What that means for us is that summer starts earlier, summer is longer and there’s more opportunity to dry out the environment, so the fire danger is going to be greater overall,” he said.

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Conservation group claims B.C. company is ‘liquidating’ endangered trees

By Bob Keating
CBC News
July 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A conservation group in the Kootenays says a private logging company is “liquidating” whitebark pine, an endangered high elevation tree species. Wildsight says Canwel Fibre owns a large swath of land between Fernie and Sparwood and is clearcutting the timber on much of that land, including whitebark stands. “Canwel [Fibre] is logging in sub-alpine areas where rare whitebark pine is found and, despite past promises that they won’t cut this endangered species, we’ve seen large piles of trees, some centuries old,” said Wildsight spokesperson Eddie Petryshen. The whitebark pine tree is listed as endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act, which is meant to provide protection for at-risk species and help with recovery. The slow-growing tree produces cones and seeds that are an important food source for grizzly bears and other wildlife, and also helps hold the snowpack and moisture at higher elevations.

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B.C. forester wins human rights case against province for job loss based on ‘political beliefs’

By Clare Hennig
CBC News
July 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A B.C. forester who was given a job by the province and then later had that offer rescinded due to his political beliefs, has won a discrimination case at the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.  Bryan Fraser had been offered a job as a senior policy officer at the Ministry of Forests in February 2015 — an announcement circulated to ministry staff by email —  only to have the offer pulled a month later.  One of the people he had previously worked with, the acting executive director for B.C. Timber Sales, responded to the emailed job announcement that Fraser has “quite a checkered past” and some in the industry were concerned about the hiring because of his past work on Haida Gwaii. …Fraser also argued that he was carrying out responsible forest practices in accordance with the B.C. government’s Forest and Range Practices Act — which, the tribunal found, constitutes a political belief protected under the Human Rights Code.

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A Brief History of Smokey Bear, the Forest Service’s Legendary Mascot

By Lyndsie Bourgon
Smithsonian Magazine
July 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

…Inspired by the power of a charismatic cartoon, the War Advertising Council dreamed up Smokey in his ranger’s hat and dungarees. He first appeared in August 1944 pouring a bucket of water on a campfire saying, “Care will prevent 9 out of 10 fires.” In 1947, he got his better-known tagline. Smokey was a sensation. In 1950, when a black bear cub was rescued from a burning forest in New Mexico, he was named Smokey and sent to Washington, D.C., where he lived at the National Zoo. Two years later Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins, the songwriting team behind “Frosty the Snowman,” wrote an ode to Smokey….And by 1964, Smokey was receiving so many letters from children that the post office gave him his own ZIP code… Today, the Ad Council estimates that 96 percent of adults recognize him—the sort of ratings usually reserved for Mickey Mouse and the president.

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Schoolteachers and Humboldt State University President Visit Scotia Mill as Part of Forestry Program

Humboldt State University
July 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

CALIFORNIA — Reinforcing Humboldt State’s commitment to the community and environmental sustainability, HSU President Tom Jackson, Jr. joined K-12 teachers from across the state to tour a lumber mill in Scotia last Saturday. The visit was part of the Forestry Institute for Teachers (FIT) professional program, which is designed to provide K-12 teachers with the knowledge and skills to teach their students about forest ecology and sustainable forest management practices. The program is organized by Yana Valachovic, who is the county director and forest advisor of UC Cooperative Extension and an HSU faculty member. …The annual program has institutes in four California counties—Humboldt, Plumas, Shasta, and Tuolumne—and explores forestry issues unique to these regions.

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Declining Idaho moose populations puzzle biologists

By Rachel Hager
Statesman Journal
July 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

BOISE, Idaho — Moose are one of the West’s most majestic animals and a once-in-a-lifetime hunting opportunity. But Idaho moose are under threat. In February, Idaho Fish and Game drastically cut the number of moose tags because of population declines across the state. In 2019-2020 there will be only 634 moose tags available each year, a 22% decrease from 2017-2018, which also saw an 8% reduction compared to 2015-2016. The Panhandle region of Idaho saw the largest reduction in 2019-2020, a 45% reduction in moose tags and the elimination of antlerless tags. But why exactly moose populations are declining is unknown. …”Biologists and hunters have both reported declines in recent years, leading to the big cut in moose permit levels this year,” Kara Campbell, regional wildlife biologist said. Wildlife biologists do not have clear answers, but the likely suspect is a combination of habitat loss, ticks and predators.

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A dangerous tool: Managed wildfires

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
July 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Policymakers have refused to create a market for biomass to promote forest thinning. That leaves the Forest Service with a choice: Fight fire with fire. The dilemma is no where more evident than on the watershed for the C.C Cragin Reservoir — a key water supply for both Payson and Phoenix. The Forest Service last year offered a 3,500-acre timber sale on the watershed, hoping logging companies would actually pay to reduce tree densities from about 800 per acre to about 100 per acre.Not a single company put in a bid — partly because the Forest Service specifications would have required them to haul away low-value biomass composed of saplings, branches and debris.The decision recently by the Arizona Corporation Commission made things much worse, dashing hopes that the state regulatory agency would require the utilities it oversees to buy 60 megawatts of electricity annually generated from such biomass.

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Some longleaf pine trees are shedding needles early this year

By Johnny Stowe
The Times and Democrat
July 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Some longleaf pine trees are shedding their needles early across the Sandhills and Coastal Plain this year. This is an annual, natural occurrence that usually takes place in the fall, but sudden, extreme drought in certain areas combined with high temperatures are causing this to take place early. …Although longleaf pines do retain some needles year-round, in years with normal rainfall individual bundles of needles generally remain on the tree for two growing seasons and are shed in the fall. In several years with low rainfall over the last decade many longleaf pines dropped their needles in late July. But I have never seen healthy longleaf pines drop needles before the summer solstice. …Other species of Southern pines, such as loblolly pine, tend to react similarly to drought, although longleaf tolerates dry weather best of all. 

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Tree-killing pathogen known as ‘Sudden Oak Death’ found in Missouri and Illinois

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

ST. LOUIS — A plant pathogen that causes an invasive tree-killing disease has been found in both Missouri and Illinois. The Missouri Department of Agriculture says it has detected ramorum blight on rhododendron plants shipped to some retail nurseries in Missouri. The disease is more commonly known as Sudden Oak Death when it infects oak trees. The rhododendrons were shipped to Walmart and Rural King stores throughout Missouri, as well as the Springfield Home Depot, Stark Bros. Nursery Garden Center and Fort Leonard Wood PX. The Illinois Department of Agriculture last week confirmed it found the pathogen at 10 Walmart stores and one Hy-Vee. Agriculture officials urge consumers who purchased rhododendrons or lilac plants of the known infected varieties labeled Park Hill Plants from these stores between March and June of this year should dispose of the plants immediately. There is no treatment for the pathogen.  

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Trees can’t escape the extreme heat. But they do have some impressive coping mechanisms.

By Adrian Higgins
The Washington Post
July 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

As you dodge sunbeams on a hellaciously hot and humid weekend, it’s worth remembering that you have a constant friend willing to take a photon to save you. We refer of course to the humble tree, so seemingly passive and yet so instrumental in getting us through high summer in Washington. If its beauty were not enough, or its ability to mitigate greenhouse gases, the shade the tree provides is a real measure of relief from excessive summer heat. It can feel 15 degrees cooler beneath an old oak or maple, and a stand of them can create their own breeze as they forge their own microclimate. In an age of universal air conditioning, the sheltering value of a tree has become less obvious, along with the unperceived phenomena that allow it to ride out the heat wave in a way that we could not.

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Germany’s forests on the verge of collapse, experts report

By Deutsche Welle
July 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Germany’s forests are undoubtedly suffering as a result of climate change, with millions of seedlings planted in the hope of diversifying and restoring forests dying, warns Ulrich Dohle, chairman of the 10,000-member Bunds Deutscher Forstleute (BDF) forestry trade union. “It’s a catastrophe. German forests are close to collapsing,” Dohle added in an interview with t-online, a online news portal of Germany’s Ströer media group.  Low rainfall last summer saw Germany’s rivers reach extreme lows, with some waterways still struggling and forests prone to fire. “These are no longer single unusual weather events. That is climate change,” said Dohle. Helge Bruelheide, co-director of Germany’s Center for Integrative Biodiversity, warned: “if the trend prevails and the annual precipitation sinks below 400 millimeters (15.7 inches) then there will be areas in Germany that will no longer be forestable.”

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Mexico tree plan in El Salvador aims to stem migration

Associated Press in St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Marcelo Ebranrd and Nayib Bukele

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Mexico is bringing to El Salvador a tree-planting program that aims to support rural residents and ease economic pressures driving thousands of people to leave for the United States. The program known as “Sowing Life” offers farmers $250 a month to plant fruit or timber trees, and whatever they harvest belongs to them. Mexico donated $31 million to fund the plan in El Salvador, and authorities say it should create 20,000 jobs. …”Sowing Life” comes amid a wave of people fleeing Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to escape poverty and violence.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

We Have to Stop Meeting Like This: The Climate Cost of Conferences

By Malabika Pramanik, UBC professor
The Tyee
July 22, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, United States

Conferences have been a lot on my mind lately.  …As a mathematics professor at the University of BC… You can imagine my incredulity, as I sat listening to a presentation by Jessica Dempsey from UBC’s geography department. …Air travel emissions resulting from professional travel, predominantly to conferences, are significant. Wynes and Donner estimate that business-related air travel emissions at UBC total 26,333 to 31,685 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission each year, equivalent to 63 to 73 per cent of the total annual emissions from the operation of the Vancouver UBC campus. …For the entire university, annual business-related air travel emissions are 1.3 to 1.6 times greater than the total UBC emissions target for the year 2020. …This means that the average person produced, simply through air travel, at least 16 per cent of the emissions that someone in B.C. creates in their entire annual footprint, including flying, home heating and driving a car.

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Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Canadian Press in BC Local News
July 20, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

VANCOUVER — High school students in Canada may not be getting the full story about climate change, according to a new study by researchers from the University of British Columbia and Lund University in Sweden. The study analyzed high school science textbooks and curricula in all 13 provinces and territories and interviewed people responsible for curriculum design in six provinces. It found in general, Canadian curricula covers the facts that climate change is happening and that it’s caused by humans, but not the strength of the scientific consensus behind climate change, its impacts or solutions. “That’s important because if students don’t understand that there are solutions or that experts agree this is a problem that’s caused by humans, they’re unlikely to be motivated to help solve the problem,” said Seth Wynes, a UBC doctoral candidate and the lead author of the study.

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Goodbye, Joshua trees? Wildfires, heat may doom them at California park, study finds

By Jared Gimour
Idaho Statesman
July 19, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Joshua Tree National Park is famous for the iconic plant in its name — but the bizarre-looking species may be destined for extinction at the Southern California park, a new study says. Scientists at the University of California in Riverside found that even if humans cut carbon emissions at middling or high levels to slow climate change, only 14 or 19 percent of the park’s current Joshua tree habitat will still be suitable for the species to grow by the end of this century. And predictions are dire if humans … continue business as usual: In that scenario, Joshua trees will be almost completely eliminated from the park between 2070 and 2100, according to findings researchers published in June in the journal Ecosphere. “The fate of these unusual, amazing trees is in all of our hands,” Lynn Sweet, the UC Riverside plant ecologist said. “Their numbers will decline, but how much depends on us.”

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Haphazardly planting trees won’t help tackle climate change

By Sneha Pandey
The Daily Star (Bangladesh)
July 20, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International
Forest conservation and restoration may not have as much of an impact in fighting climate change as mainstream science currently dictates. For many years now, scientists have thought that because trees take in carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, planting them would naturally sequester carbon and help fight climate change. But recent research shows that this understanding may be an oversimplification of how trees interact with the atmosphere.  …Markets respond to demand and unless consumers demand environmentally conscientious products, this tide will not turn. Even if we were to assume that there was enough political will and funding to plant carbon-sequestering trees in all viable land worldwide, we would be able to sequester less than a third of the 620 gigatons of carbon emissions. …The only way to sustainably mitigate for climate change is to put a check on our consumption and environmental footprint. Sequestering carbon emissions in trees is, at best, a stopgap measure.

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Health & Safety

Logging accident kills man in northeast Iowa

Associated Press in KGAN TV
July 19, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

Authorities say a man was killed by a logging accident in northeast Iowa. First responders were sent around 12:25 p.m. Tuesday to the worksite about 2 mile from the Mississippi River in the southeast corner of Clayton County. The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office says 38-year-old Jason Steger, of Greeley, was struck by a falling tree that had been knocked over by a log that was being moved. Steger was pronounced dead at the scene. He worked for Kendrick Forest Products, which is based in Edgewood. Work safety authorities have been notified. [END]

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Forest Fires

Wildfires in All Seasons?

By Deb Schweizer, USDA Forest Service
Sierra Sun Times
July 19, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States

In recent decades the number, severity and overall size of wildfires has increased across much of the U.S. In fact, the 2018 wildfire season in California recorded the largest fire in acres burned, most destructive fire in property loss and deadliest fires in the state’s history. But for many USDA Forest Service employees, fire season is something they remember from the start of their careers, when they quickly learned there were five seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall and fire season. However, wildfire is year-round for much of the United States and the Forest Service is shifting to the concept of a fire year. Wildfire season has become longer based on conditions that allow fires to start and to burn—winter snows are melting earlier and rain is coming later in the fall. What was once a four-month fire season now lasts six to eight months.

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‘Wildfire losses increase 90-fold in Tehran’

Tehran Times
July 21, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

TEHRAN – Wildfire incurred losses to the capital’s protected areas during the first three months of this year (started on March 21), which was 90 times more than the same period last year, commander of Tehran province environment protection unit has said. During the aforementioned period, wildfire swept for 25 times in the protected lands of Tehran, turning 314 hectares of the lands into ashes, ISNA quoted Mohammad Reza Khishtandar as saying on Sunday. This is while, last year only 5 cases of wildfire reported in these areas affecting some 3.5 hectares, he lamented, adding that therefore, losses brought by the massive fires have increased 90-fold this year. Due to unprecedented rainfall, vegetation growth increased covering vast areas of the country, so, the smallest flame of fire can spread rapidly in areas covered with vegetation, he explained.

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